By Leslie Wade, Manager of Communications, Project chimps ~~
Morganton, GA, March 21 – Two well-known former research chimpanzees now have a forever home in the Blue Ridge Mountains, thanks to a cooperative agreement between the New Iberia Research Center in Louisiana and Project Chimps, a 236-acre sanctuary in north Georgia.
Eleven-year-old Hercules and Leo joined other retired chimpanzees at the forested Project Chimps sanctuary where they will spend the remainder of their lives napping, foraging, and climbing pine trees.
The two nonhuman primates were used in noninvasive locomotion studies at a New York state facility, where they lived from 2010 to 2015. They gained news media attention when an animal rights organization filed a lawsuit seeking legal personhood for them. A New York judge dismissed that lawsuit in July 2015. They moved back to NIRC in December 2015 and were retired from research.
Hercules, Leo, and seven other male chimpanzees, made the 14-hour journey from NIRC to Project Chimps. They left Tuesday afternoon, arriving in Morganton, Georgia, as the sun rose Wednesday morning. Other chimpanzees in the group are Kivuli, Oscar and Jacob, age 7; Danner, 8; and Ray, Kenndie and Binah, 9. Members of this social group of chimpanzees are the youngest males to relocate from NIRC to Project Chimps since the sanctuary opened in September 2016.
With the arrival of Hercules and Leo, there are currently 31 chimpanzees living at the Project Chimps sanctuary. New arrivals are expected to take place in several phases over the coming years. Eventually we expect to house over 200 chimpanzees coming from private research facilities.
To support Project Chimps, please make a monthly donation, or visit our Amazon WishList. You can also volunteer at Project Chimps! Learn more about our programs and chimpanzees and visit us online at projectchimps.org